Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States

Reflections on Salvation

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"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).

Our God looked down and sadness overcame Him. Some of His precious children were slipping away and would perish. Something He cannot accept and He will never allow. Thus God demanded a human sacrifice, and not just any human but a perfect human. He looked around and there was no one in site.

But God will never give up; in His unconditional love for us and infinite wisdom He had a plan. His only son and His precious son must be the sacrificial lamb; He is the only one who can bring all God's children back to Him.

The sky was opened and Salvation's message has begun, a simple virgin girl was chosen to be with a child, to carry Him in her womb by the power of the Holy Spirit, and to watch over Him until He is ready to serve.

"For there is born to you this day in the city of David a savior who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manager. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!" (Luke 2:11-14).

The baby's birth was not a fairy tale. He will be born in a manager, a stable, lay down in an animal feeder, surrounded by dirt and all sort of animals. No gold crown, no rob and scepter, or even a silver spoon. Why?

  • As a symbol that He will be seen as a lamb of God
  • As a symbol of what society amounts to (lost humanity, unkind master, poor conditions, struggles, hopelessness...etc.)
  • The angels announced the birth of Jesus to the simple shepherds who where awake all night to watch over the flock of sheep that were destined to be offered as sacrifices in the temple which is what Jesus came to the world to do
  • That Jesus Christ came for everyone who is willing to believe; not for the wise and the perfect in their own eyes
  • That suffering out of love for God and His children through life will be the ultimate sacrifice

"And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and favor with God and men" (Luke 2:52).

Jesus Christ grew up in Nazareth, Joseph was a carpenter and taught Jesus the trade, the days went by and His body grew strong, hand in hand with His spirit, until He was ready to step in and start His ministry. The Holy Bible did not give us many details about His life at His young age. But looking at His ministry after, we can see a child with all kinds of gifts from the Holy Spirit. He is loving, kind, giving, willing to sacrifice His time and His whole life for others. He knows how to conduct Himself in front of others and how to attract people to come and find out about the kingdom of God.

"Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, 'The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.'" (Mark 1:14-15).

At the age of thirty years, Jesus Christ began His ministry and many times He indicated that He is the Messiah. And He proved that by using a number of different ways to help others, teaching about God the Father and His love for us, teaching about how to approach God and have an intimate relationship with Him, and also how to love one another. By using:

  • Storytelling: through Parables He was able to hold their attention, simplifying His message with familiar surroundings
  • Sermons: such as the sermon on the mountain He was able to teach them many important truths about the kingdom of God, giving them instruction, and warnings
  • Simple sentences: As He said to the Pharisees, when a woman caught in adultery and they wanted to stone her; "He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first" (John 8:7)
  • Examples: He was baptized, prayed to the Father in privacy and in public, never disobeyed the law of the gospel
  • Actions: Had compassion on everyone (children, those who were overlooked such as Samaritan...etc.)
  • Miracles: through healing people such as the blind, the lepers...etc.

"And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the place of a skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha. Where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side and Jesus in the center" (John 19:17-18).

The time has come and God is ready to receive His only Son back home. And although the crucifixion was the ultimate sacrifice for the human sin, in God's ultimate wisdom, the divine love for all of us was magnified by giving His only son to be our Savior, our King.

Jesus Christ must suffer, be crucified, and risen in order to fulfill God's plan to bring His children back again. No other alternative, no other ways. He was ready and willing to take the path of suffering, He was willing to die for everyone and even for the one who gave Him away, rejected Him, crucified Him, and failed to gain His blessing. Every time we come to remember this moment of pain and suffering, the humiliation, the agony on the cross that Jesus Christ had to endure for us, our tears still fill our face as if it happened yesterday. The thought of the love that He Has for us, although He knows all about our sinful lives, gives us the power to try to change our ways and attitude to do what is right in the sight of Him and know He is right there to fill us with His power and His grace to overcome whatever we are fighting to change.

"And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel. Who also said, 'Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.'" (Act 1:10-11).

O God how beautiful is Your way, how gracious Your love for the sinners. Thank you for all You do for Your children. Lord, Your blood is so precious to us so let us not use it in vain but let it be our path to You. And let us, through remembrance, imitate Your life and Your death so we can benefit with everlasting life with You and we can give hope to others.

Written by
Nagwa Abdou

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